School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Publishing Programs

Juan Pablo Alperin (centre) with project team members Alice Fleerackers (left) and Esteban Morales.

Four FCAT faculty members receive Dewey Fellowships to investigate innovative teaching and learning methods

August 12, 2019

SFU's Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD) has awarded four Dewey Fellowships to FCAT faculty members.

The Dewey Fellowship is named after John Dewey (1859-1952), a psychologist and educational reformer who is particularly linked to the notion of democratizing education and learning through experience and experimentation. ISTLD Dewey Fellows are faculty members who have demonstrated their interest and commitment to the investigation of teaching and learning through the successful conduct of at least one Teaching and Learning Development Grant through the ISTLD  and through other activities within their departments and faculties. They have developed particular expertise in the investigation of innovative course designs and instructional methods that support student learning in their discipline. Dewey Fellows are invited to work with the ISTLD for a one-year term during which they contribute to ISTLD programs and also conduct teaching and learning research that goes beyond their own practice.

Current fellowships 

Marek Hatala, School of Interactive Arts and Technology: "Structuring Learning Activities to Gain Insight from Student Access Data." Hatala's previous TLDG project, "Keeping Students On-Track in Multi-week Projects via Learning Analytics Feedback," focused on generating feedback to motivate students to start working early on multi-week assignments/projects. By developing an instructional assignment specification scaffold in SFU’s learning management system (LMS), he was able to generate logs for tracking students’ engagement with different parts of the assignment. Via this tracking, he observed phases of planning and performance of students’ self-regulated learning processes. The data revealed learning behaviours that were quite diverse, and in many cases very different from what he envisioned as an instructor. Although the grant project focused on feedback to students, the data from his course provided him with valuable information about how students engage with the assignment activity.

Project team: Barbara Berry, Teaching and Learning Centre, and research assistant(s) TBD

Chantal Gibson, School of Interactive Arts and Technology: "Thinking Through Citation: Bridging Reading and Writing in SIAT W Courses with an Ethical Research Writing Toolkit." High instances of plagiarism and poor documentation practices have been identified in all three SIAT writing-intensive (W) courses, IAT103W, 206W and 309W. Despite the use of peer reviews, writing workshops, citation checklists, librarian talks and SFU Library Plagiarism Tutorial in first year, upper level writing assignments demonstrate a range of errors from incorrect citation to poor summarizing and paraphrasing. In extreme cases, papers are filled with copy and pasted content or completely void of integrated sources. We recognize that our SIAT W classrooms are complex and that our students have diverse knowledge, disciplinary and cultural backgrounds. Plagiarism is not simply a case of cheating. It is a reflection of our teaching and a reflection of student skill, knowledge and understanding.

Project team and collaborators: Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda, Kate Hennessy, Niranjan Rajah, SIAT, Adena Brons, SFU Library, and Mily Mumford, research assistant

Juan Pablo Alperin, Publishing program: "Encouraging and Supporting Discussions Through Online Annotations." Seminar courses are predicated on the notion that students learn by critically reading a text, and subsequently engaging in discussions with their peers and with the instructor. This project seeks to expand on this practice by bringing discussions about assigned texts online with an online annotation tool,

Project team: Alice Fleerackers and Esteban Morales, research assistants, and Remi Kalir, University of Colorado

Previous fellowship

Michael Filimowicz, School of Interactive Arts and Technology: "Fostering Student Excellence through Extending the Community of Inquiry in Social Media" from September 2017 to April 2019. This project explored the use of social media in relation to the COI Community of Inquiry) framework. Originating in the writings of C.S. Peirce and John Dewey, and developed further by Lipman (1991) and Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000), COI models the scene of learning as overlapping fields of Instructional, Cognitive and Social Presence. Preliminary research conducted, within the context of general course improvement, has suggested that student engagement and interest in social media platforms varies considerably based on already existing personal interests and practices. In previous funded ISTLD research, Filimowicz focused on a single social media platform– Flickr for peer group review of digital photography (Filimowicz & Tzankova, 2015).